How do I add music to Apple without iTunes?

With the launch of macOS Catalina in 2019, Apple discontinued iTunes in favor of separate Music, TV, and Podcasts apps. This means you can no longer use iTunes to sync music to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. However, there are still several ways to add music to your Apple devices without iTunes.

Transfer Music from Your Computer

The easiest way to add music is to transfer it directly from your computer. You can do this through the Finder app on Mac or Windows Explorer on PC.

On Mac

Here are the steps to add music on a Mac:

  1. Connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to your Mac using the included USB cable.
  2. Open Finder and select your device under Locations in the sidebar.
  3. Drag and drop songs/albums from your Mac onto your device.

The music will sync automatically without needing iTunes. You can transfer music stored anywhere on your Mac, whether in your Music library, Downloads folder or external storage.

On Windows

To add music on Windows:

  1. Connect your device to your PC using a USB cable.
  2. Open File Explorer and navigate to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
  3. Drag and drop music files onto your device.

This will copy the files directly without needing iTunes. Make sure you have the option “Sync this device automatically” checked under device properties.

Use iCloud Music Library

You can also upload your music library to iCloud and have it available on your devices automatically. Here’s how:

  1. Make sure you’re signed in to iCloud on your devices.
  2. In the Music app on your Mac or PC, turn on iCloud Music Library.
  3. This will upload your music to iCloud.
  4. On your iOS device, go to Settings > Music and turn on iCloud Music Library.

Once enabled, any music you add to your library on one device will appear everywhere. You’ll need an active iCloud storage plan to use this feature.

Sync with macOS Catalina

If you’re running macOS Catalina, you can sync music using the Music app:

  1. Connect your device to Mac.
  2. Open Music and select your device under Library in the sidebar.
  3. Turn on Sync Library.

This will sync your entire Apple Music or iTunes music library to your device. You can also selectively sync playlists instead of your full library.

Use Third-Party Apps

There are also free third-party apps you can use to transfer music:

Windows

  • CopyTrans Manager – Allows transferring music without iTunes on Windows.
  • iMazing – Manages iOS devices and can transfer music files.

Mac

  • AnyTrans – Manages data on iOS devices and syncs music.
  • iMazing – Transfers music and other files to iOS without iTunes.

These provide easy drag and drop transfer of music without needing iTunes or erasing data on your device.

Use Apple Music

The easiest way to enjoy music on your Apple devices is to subscribe to the Apple Music streaming service. This gives you access to over 90 million songs right within the Music app.

Here are the steps to get started with Apple Music:

  1. Open the Music app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
  2. Tap the For You tab.
  3. Tap the button for a free trial of Apple Music.
  4. Browse recommendations and search for music to stream.

With an Apple Music membership, you can save songs offline, create playlists, listen to curated playlists and stations, and more. It works seamlessly across all your Apple devices.

Buy Music from iTunes Store

You can still purchase music from the iTunes Store without using iTunes. Here’s how:

  1. On your iOS device, open the App Store.
  2. Tap your profile icon to access your account.
  3. Tap Purchased > Music.
  4. Browse and download any songs you’ve purchased.

Your iTunes Store purchase history is linked to your Apple ID, so you can download previously bought music directly on your device without iTunes.

Import CDs

To import music from CDs, you can use the Apple Music app on Mac. Just insert an audio CD and it will appear in the app. Click Import CD and the tracks will be added to your library.

On Windows, you can use iTunes or third-party apps like MusicBee to rip CDs, then manually transfer the files to your device.

Transfer from Android

If you’re switching from Android, you can transfer your music library by moving files directly from your Android device storage. Alternatively use an app like CopyTrans Contacts to transfer music from Android to iOS.

Add Downloaded Music Files

Any music files you’ve downloaded from the internet or elsewhere can be manually transferred to your device using Finder or File Explorer.

Connect your phone to your computer and simply drag and drop MP3, M4A or other audio files onto your device to copy them over.

Conclusion

Although iTunes is no longer required, you have plenty of ways to enjoy music on your Apple devices:

  • Sync music directly from your computer
  • Use iCloud Music Library
  • Sync music with macOS Catalina
  • Transfer files via third-party apps
  • Stream songs with an Apple Music subscription
  • Re-download iTunes Store purchases
  • Import CDs
  • Transfer music from Android or elsewhere

With these handy options, you can easily build up your music library and listen to tunes on your iPhone, iPad and iPod without needing iTunes.